The 5 July referendum called by the Greek government will be on the agreement proposed by international creditors, not on a Grexit, said Alexis Tsipras, late Friday night (26 June). EurActiv Greece reports.
The premier said an emergency session of Parliament would be called to ratify the decision and ruled out any scenario of a “in or out” referendum later today.
No Grexit referendum
“Greece is, and will remain an indispensable part of Europe, and Europe, an indispensable part of Greece. But Greece without democracy is a Europe without identity or a compass,” he said, emphasising the political significance of the referendum.
Tsipras continued, saying that during the recent negotiations, the Greek government was asked “to adopt bailout agreements which were agreed to by previous governments, even though these were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections”.
“After five months of tough negotiations, our partners, unfortunately, concluded at the Eurogroup the day before last with a proposal, an ultimatum, to the Hellenic Republic and the Greek people,” the Syriza chief stressed, adding that the ultimatum contravened the founding principles and values of Europe.
The EU can survive without the IMF
The Greek premier also strongly criticised the IMF’s firm stance in the negotiations.
“These proposals prove the fixation, primarily of the International Monetary Fund, with tough and punitive austerity,” he said.
Minister of State Nikos Pappas stated that Greeks would reject the creditors’ deal and went further, saying that Europe could continue “without the IMF”.
“Our people will vote no, you will see,” he said. “This is a very good night … the Greek people will soon be able to decide” for themselves.
“Europe has the institutional dynamic to find solutions for the crisis without the IMF,” he noted.
Development Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis urged Greeks to vote against the creditors’ proposal.
“The answer of the Greek people will be a resounding no,” he told reporters. “All Greeks will vote no.”
“In or out” referendum
Antonis Samaras, the leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy [EPP affiliated], attacked the coalition government, saying that the referendum would mean a Grexit.
“European identity is a conquest of Greece. And New Democracy is in favor of the European perspective of the country. Because any other position would be socially and nationally devastating for our country.”
Samaris personally blamed the Greek premier for “leading the country to an absolute deadlock” and stressed that the actual question of the referendum would be “Yes or No to Europe.” “[Tsipras] proposes (a) clash with our partners and exit from the Eurozone.”
“He is fatal, weak and irresponsible, isolates the country from Europe, divides the Greek people and throws the responsibilities he cannot take himself back on them,” added the former prime minister.
The “drachma lobby”
Centre-left Potami [S&D affiliated] was even more critical.
“Tsipras and Kammenos [the leader of the junior coalition partner, the Independent Greeks party] decided to lead the drachma lobby […] get the country out of the EU and throw Greece off the cliff,” said Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis.
“We will fight to keep Greece strong in the heart of Europe,” he stressed.
Pasok wants elections
The Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK- S&D affiliated) said that the Syriza-led government should resign and call snap elections.
“The government failed and leads the country into a great national adventure. It puts its own responsibility for the impasse in the negotiations on the Greek people. It attempts to trap people into a false and divisive dilemma with adventurism and incalculable costs for the country,” said the newly-elected leader of Pasok, Fofi Gennimata, in a press release.